Photo: Two Ampelmann A-type systems operating on the Kroonborg and Kasteelborg vessels; Source: Wagenborg

Dutch shipyard picks Ampelmann gangway for new icebreaker

Dutch offshore access provider Ampelmann has secured a contract from Royal Niestern Sander, a member of the Royal Wagenborg Group, for the sale of a winterised A-type motion compensated gangway system.

Signing ceremony (L to R): Royal Wagenborg CEO Egbert Vuursteen, Ampelmann CEO Jan van der Tempel, director of Royal Niestern Sander Jan Doorduin; Source: Amplemann
Signing ceremony (L to R): Royal Wagenborg CEO Egbert Vuursteen, Ampelmann CEO Jan van der Tempel, director of Royal Niestern Sander Jan Doorduin; Source: Amplemann

Ampelmann said on Thursday that the new winterised A-type gangway combines features of the original A-type with the ability to operate in extremely cold weather.

The system will be installed on the first shallow draft ice-breaking Walk to Work (W2W) vessel that the shipyard is currently developing.

The vessel, equipped with the winterised A-type, will operate off the East Coast of Sakhalin, Russia. Both solutions are to be delivered at the end of 2021.

Joeri Poelmann, Ampelmann’s area manager of sales for Asia Pacific, said: “We are excited to have formed this partnership with Royal Niestern Sander as, together, we can provide a solution that meets the specific needs of the local O&G market in Sakhalin”.

Year-round operations

Such a solution W2W solution will be able to operate in the summer as well as in the extremely cold winter months.

It will enable year-round crew change services for up to 40 people from the shallow Nabil Port to offshore platforms near the coast.

The new Ampelmann system is based on the proven technology and track record of the original A-type and utilises the winter-proof features of the N-type. It can compensate waves up to 3 metres and allow for safe and comfortable transfers at temperatures as low as -30°C.

The N-type system operating in extreme winter conditions off Sakhalin; Source: Ampelmann
The N-type system operating in extreme winter conditions off Sakhalin; Source: Ampelmann

Like the N-type, the most essential equipment is placed in a temperature-controlled engine room under the hexapod, the transfer deck is covered, and outside components are equipped with covers and heat tracing.

The system will have two operating modes, in which it will be placed midship during the summer to ensure the highest motion compensation capabilities, and towards the stern of the vessel during the winter to accommodate people transfers while ice breaking.

Experience in Sakhalin

Ampelmann has been operating in Sakhalin since 2014 when it started working with Sakhalin Energy to provide offshore personnel with means to access their platforms at sea.

The company initially utilised the Ampelmann A-type system on a dedicated accommodation support vessel, which has been on charter since 2014 for the non-ice summer season.

Since 2017, the two companies have been working together during the harsh winter season as well, with the help of the N-type system, designed to operate in arctic temperatures. In total, these systems have enabled over 200,000 safe personnel transfers to date.

To accommodate the growth of its operations in the area, Ampelmann also opened a local office in Sakhalin in early 2019.

Jan van der Tempel, CEO of Ampelmann, added: “It is great to join forces again with Royal Niestern Sander. Previously, we developed the Kroonborg and Kasteelborg [vessels] expanding the W2W concept in the North Sea together with Wagenborg. This vessel will bring that joint expertise to Sakhalin”.

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